Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Mighty Queens of Freeville

Last year when I bought The Mighty Queens of Freeville by Amy Dicksinson, I am not sure I even knew who Amy Dickinson was. Perhaps I knew her as Dear Abby's replacement, but I know I didn't know more than that, and had never read her column. When I picked this book up to read this year as part of my Read From Your Shelves challenge, I had to remind myself exactly who Amy Dickinson is.
Turns out that while Amy Dickinson is quite successful, she is also very much the girl next door. Amy grew up in Freeville, New York, a town of just four hundred and fifty people, many of them her relatives. Coming from a small, rural town myself, I can truly relate to Amy's childhood, spent on a dairy farm where she, her two sisters and her brother helped each day with the milking. Amy's father left her family when Amy was just twelve, and from then on her mother managed to care for and raise four children while going back to school to secure better employment. When Amy finds herself in a similar predicament- heading for divorce with a small daughter in a foreign country- she finds some reassurance by looking at her mother's example. Amy's daughter, Emily, and Amy eventually realize that their family is a family of women and that these women have helped shape who they are, Emily dubbing them the Mighty Queens of Freeville.

Each chapter in this memoir-ish book share a portion of Amy's life, sometimes serious, sometimes humorous, letting us have a glimpse into the private life of a successful advice columnist who has a very ordinary background. Even today Dickinson lives in two worlds - Chicago, and Freeville, never forgetting her roots and the people who have supported her and made her who she is.

The Mighty Queens of Freeville is an entertaining, heartwarming book. A book about friendship, family and the importance of women in a family.

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